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Important Settings for your Moodle Course

The Quick Settings block provides easy access to the most frequently used course settings. More detailed settings for your course are found on the Edit course settings page.

The Quick Settings Block

The Quick Settings block is added by default to new courses, but you can also add the block to any course. The block provides an easy way to check, and change, the most important settings for your course.

Note: Editing does not need to be turned on to use this block, and the block is hidden from Students (shows only for Teachers and Course Designers).

  1. The Quicksettings BlockSelect settings:

    Course available? Select Yes or No.
    Show Gradebook? Select Yes or No.
    Number of visible sections: Enter a value. Sections beyond the number entered will be removed from the course page, but will not be deleted from the course and will reappear if the number of Sections is increased.
  2. Click Update settings.
    Note: If you leave the course page without clicking Update settings, Moodle will warn you have unsaved changes.

The block also provides links to:

  • Edit sections: Edit the names of all the Sections in your course.
  • Edit dates: Change due dates or release dates for multiple activities at once. See Edit Dates for Multiple Activities & Resources in Moodle.
  • More settings: Opens the Edit course settings page where you'll find additional course settings (see below).

Edit Course Settings

The overall settings for your course are found on the Edit course settings page. Some settings are populated automatically with information from SPIRE when the course is created. There are settings that cannot be changed, and others are up to the instructor.

To edit the course settings:

  1. On your course page, in the Administration block, under Course administration, click Edit settings. The Edit course settings page will open.
  2. On the Edit course settings page, you will see a list of options for your course. Click the headings to view those settings, or Expand all (top right) to view all settings. Frequently used settings include:
    • Edit the Course full name that shows at the top of the your course pages (General heading)
    • Hide or show the course to students (General heading).
    • Set course Sections to be collapsible or to always stay open (Course format heading).
    • Choose a colored theme for the course  (Appearance heading).
    • Make grades visible to students (Appearance heading).
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page to save your settings.
    • To save and continue changing settings, click Save and return.
    • To save and return to your course page click Save and display.

Course Settings Options

Click a page heading to view the settings under that heading, or click Expand all (top right) to view all settings.


General course settings (click to expand)

  • Course full name
    The Course full name appears at the very top of your Moodle course page, on participant's Dashboards, and in the My courses block on the site home page. You may want to edit the automatically generated course name for readability.
  • Course short name
    The Course short name (dept-number-section-semester) cannot be changed. It appears as a link in the Navigation block, under My courses.
  • Visibility to students
    Moodle courses are hidden from students when requested and automatically released to students three days prior to the beginning of the semester. If requested after the release date, instructors must release the course to student's themselves. Instructors can use this setting to hide or show a course outside of the institutional schedule. For more, see Make Your Moodle Course Available to Students.
  • Course start date
    This setting affects how Sections are named when the Weekly course format is used. For example, if you choose January 20th as your start date, the first Section will be named January 20 - January 26.


  • Course summary
    The summary is imported from SPIRE. You may edit it, but we suggest you keep it short. Note that students are unlikely to see this summary as it appears only on the course listings page for the entire Moodle site. 
  • Course summary files
    You may upload an image to be included with your course summary. 

Course Format

Course format settings    (click to expand)

  • Format
    Choose a Format to determine how Sections will behave on your course page:
    • Single Activity format
      Only a single activity or resource (such as a Quiz or SCORM package) is shown on the course page (with no option to add additional activities or resources).
    • Social format
      The entire course consists of one discussion forum, with no option to add additional activities or resources.
    • Collapsed Topics (Default)
      Allows individual users to expand and collapse the course Sections. This format avoids the need to scroll down a very long page to access the bottom sections of a course. If a course is set to use Collapsed Topics, additional options appear under the Format heading, for example, you can set the course structure to Weeks (as with the Weekly format, but still have collapsible Sections).
      By default, sections are named Topic 1, Topic 2, Topic 3, etc. We recommend giving the sections more informative names (to name sections, on your course page, turn editing on and click Edit at the top of each section).
    • Weekly format
      Organizes course Sections by week, with a clear start and finish date. Moodle creates and names a section for each week of your course (see Number of sections below, to control the number of weeks). The sections do not collapse and are always open.
      If using the Weekly format, make sure your course start date is correct or Sections will be named with the wrong dates. This is especially important if you are reusing a course from a previous semester (See Course start date, below).
    • Topics format
      Course Sections do not collapse and are always open.
      By default, sections are named Topic 1, Topic 2, Topic 3, etc. We recommend giving the sections more informative names (to name sections, on your course page, turn editing on and click Edit at the top of each section). 
  • Number of sections
    Determines the number of Sections your course will have. You can increase or decrease this number at any time.
    Note: Content contained in a hidden section will not be deleted, and can be recovered by increasing the number of course Sections.
  • Hidden sections
    Controls how hidden Topic or Weekly Sections in your course display to students. The default, Hidden sections are shown in collapsed form, displays the names for hidden Sections (grayed-out), but hides any activities and resources within the section. You also have the option to make a hidden section completely invisible to students.
  • Course Layout
    • Show all sections on one page (Default)
      All Sections appear on your course page.
    • Show one section per page
      Your course page has links to each Section, and the content for each Section appears on a separate page.


Appearance settings (click to expand)

  • Force Theme
    Choose from among several color schemes for your course. For details, see Select a Theme for Your Moodle Course.
    Note: If set to Do not force, your course will use the theme from the Moodle at UMass Amherst entry page. 
  • Force language
    Presently there is only one Language Pack (US English) available in Moodle.
  • News items to show
    This setting controls how many News forum posts show on the Latest news block. If set to 0, the Latest news block will not appear.
  • Show gradebook to students
    By default, when an activity has been graded, each student can see their own grade on the Grades page. If you do not want to use grades in a course, or wish to hide the Gradebook from students, set this option to No. The instructor will still be able to use the gradebook.
    Note: Even if the Gradebook is not available to students, depending on the activity settings, students may still be able to view grades from within an activity itself. For more, see An Overview of the Moodle Gradebook.
  • Show activity reports
    Activity reports list students' activity and contributions to the current course, including their detailed access log. Instructors always have access to these reports. Setting this option to Yes will allow students to view their own reports.

Files and uploads

  • Legacy course files
    Allows instructors to import a Moodle course built in an older version of Moodle.
  • Maximum upload size
    Determines the largest size of a single file that can be uploaded in the course. Teachers can further limit the file size for uploads within each activity. If your students will be submitting large files (e.g. videos, Powerpoints or large PDFs), be sure to set the maximum both here and in the Assignment settings.

Completion Tracking

  • Enable completion tracking
    If set to Yes, your students can track progress using check boxes next to required activities (configured in the activity settings). You can let students check the boxes themselves, or to have the boxes checked automatically when an activity is submitted or graded.


  • Group mode
    Sets the default behavior for group activities in the course. The options are No groups, Separate groups (students only see and contribute to their own group's activities), or Visible groups (students can contribute to their own group's activities, and they can view all groups' contributions). Individual activities can be set to different Group modes than the course overall.
  • Force group mode
    This setting will apply the Group mode set above to all activities, and cause settings made at the activity level to be ignored. For more on using groups, see An Overview of Managing Groups in Moodle.